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Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Wikipedia

Italy now country with largest Coronavirus outbreak outside Asia

Italy is now under global observation, as the country with the largest outbreak of the Coronavirus outside Asia.

Published: February 24, 2020, 6:26 am

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    The Washington Post reported that within a few short hours Italy advanced from a country with a few people hospitalized to an explosion of infected cases. This points to a flaw in the system, but it is nevertheless curious that Italy was the only country to have blocked direct flights to and from China and yet is currently the most affected.

    Of course, the blocking of flights from China, had not been foreseen the people on indirect flights, which had stopped in other countries before reaching Italy from China. But since other EU states have not even implemented the blocking of flights such as the one implemented in Italy, it is impossible to blame the failure on airlines alone.

    According to Dagospia, the problem could derive precisely (paradoxically) from the blocking of flights. “The other EU countries, leaving trade with China open instead, had the opportunity to limit the problem. No one has returned to Spain or Germany from indirect flights [from Italy]. And all those who have returned from China have been quarantined directly.”

    There has even been talks of suspending the Schengen treaty. That move requested in Italy by the center-right to try to avoid contagion, could be requested by European states precisely to stop a possible spread to the rest of the continent.

    For now, EU sources, as reported by Italian daily La Stampa, have spoken only of the possibility that some countries may make requests in this direction. But while the bureaucracy is moving and the words are being weighed, the Swiss authorities in Ticino have spoken of the possibility of strengthening customs controls, following in the wake of Austria and Romania.

    This is precautionary measure also taken by Israel, a country that has put Italy on the same blacklist as the Asian countries from which the virus has spread.

    Italian virologist Roberto Burioni commented in a short interview with Adnkronos on the security measures put in place by the government, underlining the importance of uniting to fight the epidemic.

    In anticipation of a rapid spread, the central government has decided to implement an “emergency decree” aimed at ensuring the safety of the population: Checkpoints around the outbreaks of the virus, sterile corridors to guarantee the inhabitants of the towns involved the supply of food and suspension of aggregate events such as football matches and carnival celebrations.

    These security measures are, although drastically restrictive, necessary if not absolutely essential in this moment of uncertainty.

    “I believe that the government has done very well to make even painful but important decisions,” says Burioni. “Children can be an important transmission vehicle. Fortunately they get much less ill than adults, but they can become infected and pass on the ‘coronavirus’ to their parents. It would therefore be appropriate to consider closing all schools in Lombardy and Veneto for this Carnival week.”

    Finally, the virologist closed the interview with a heartfelt appeal to avoid the collapse of the emergency services, already saturated with requests: “Every Italian should do their part, do not clog the hospitals. We went from the phase in which we had to prevent the entry of the new Coronavirus in Italy to the very important phase in which we must contain it. We must commit all our energy to make this happen and each of us must do our part with a sense of responsibility,” he concluded.

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